Hoeven Meets with Farmers and Ranchers to Discuss Drought, Outline Disaster Assistance Efforts

Senator Advancing $7 Billion in Assistance, Livestock Disaster Legislation

RUGBY, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today met with North Dakota farmers and ranchers to outline his efforts to advance both immediate and long-term assistance to help farmers and ranchers weather the severe drought conditions impacting the state. That includes: 

  • $7 billion in disaster assistance in the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2022 Agriculture Appropriations legislation, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this month, with:
    • $6.28 billion in disaster assistance to aid producers who suffered losses due to droughts, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other qualifying disasters. The funding will extend WHIP+ to cover losses in calendar years 2020 and 2021. 
    • $750 million for livestock producers for losses incurred during 2021 due to drought or wildfire. This disaster assistance, the first specifically for livestock producers since 2008, will build on top of existing farm bill programs for livestock producers.
  • Hoeven-Tester Livestock Disaster Relief Act to improve the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP).
    • Increases assistance under LFP to more accurately compensate producers for forage losses.
    • Makes changes to ELAP to ensure it complements LFP by covering transportation costs for forage and water.
  • Efforts with USDA to utilize existing programs to provide relief to livestock producers in the short-term.
    • Including to expand ELAP to cover forage transportation costs, in addition to water transportation costs.

“I appreciate hearing directly from our producers about the challenges they face and how best to help them weather this severe drought,” said Senator Hoeven. “We’ve been working to provide relief and get assistance to our farmers and ranchers throughout the drought. That includes advancing $7 billion in disaster assistance, with $750 million for livestock producers, through the Senate Appropriations Committee, as well as introducing legislation to improve LFP and ELAP. At the same time, we’re also working with USDA to provide more immediate relief through existing programs, including efforts to help with forage transportation costs.”

Additionally, the Senator has secured:

  • Emergency procedures and new flexibilities from the Risk Management Agency (RMA) for crop insurance providers to help ensure quick and fair adjustments and payments to producers.
    • Hoeven pressed for this flexibility during his recent drought tour with RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy, and it comes as part of the senator’s efforts to help producers weather severe drought conditions in North Dakota. 
  • Providing flexibility to farmers when utilizing cover crops, which provide an additional source of feed for livestock producers.
    • Following RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy’s visit to North Dakota, RMA announced it will allow producers to hay, graze or chop cover crops on prevented plant acres at any time while still receiving their full crop insurance indemnity.